Tipping Gratuity for Hair Stylist

Model having hair done.
Learn to tip your stylist correctly.

Understanding tipping gratuity for hair stylists can help you avoid awkward post-haircut moments. By tipping well, you show your stylist you appreciate her work and ensure that she will give you extra attention next time you come in.

Tipping Gratuity for Hair Stylist Basics

Tipping your hair stylist isn't so different than tipping at a restaurant: think 10-20% of your total, or more if your stylist did an exceptional job. Tips vary somewhat by geographic location. Customers in larger cities like New York and Los Angeles may tip upwards of 20-25%, while 10-15% is the norm in small towns. Either way, stylists make a large portion of their income from tips as the salon owner often takes a portion of their fees for space rental. While many salons allow you to add the tip amount to your credit card payment, cash is preferred, so plan ahead for your visit.

On some occasions, it's polite to tip a little extra. For example, if your stylist gave you an extra-long head massage, fits you in for a last minute appointment, you arrived late, or you brought your toddler with you to the salon, it's a nice gesture to tack a few more dollars onto the total. If you visit a particular stylist regularly, you will likely build up a friendly rapport and you won't think twice about tipping. However, if you aren't loyal to a particular stylist or salon, don't use that as an excuse to skimp on the tip, even at walk-in chain salons.

Although you will feel inclined to tip well most of the time, you are not required, and you may choose to withhold a tip in the case that you receive a disastrous cut or color that must be corrected by someone else. First, try to explain your concerns to the stylist or speak with the owner. If the stylist was polite and truly tried to convey your wishes, you should still tip her even if your new 'do makes you want to cry. She probably feels worse than you do.

Others to Tip

Some customers may be surprised to learn that it's not only polite to tip your stylist, but you should also tip anyone else who provided services during the salon visit, such as a manicurist or the person who shampooed your hair. A couple of dollars will suffice, but if someone provided exemplary service or spent a considerable amount of extra time with you, for example, styling or coloring your hair, you should tip more than a few dollars. It's best to tip these employees in cash to ensure that they receive the amount you intended. If you don't have the right amount, ask the receptionist for change.

In some cases, customers also tip the salon owner, but this is completely unnecessary and he may even refuse a tip. However, this practice is becoming more common, especially for those who want to ingratiate themselves with a new salon owner.

Holiday Tip

It can be confusing to determine which people you should give a "bonus" tip to around the holidays. If you have a regular stylist that you visited for most of the year, it's generous to double her tip when you're in for an appointment in December or January. Place the tip in a holiday card so she understands the purpose. Cash is generally preferred over gifts, but a nice gesture such as homemade candy is certainly better than none at all.


The rules of tipping gratuity for hair stylists can be complicated, but don't forget to show your appreciation for your stylist's hard work. She will be sure to reward you on your next visit.

Tipping Gratuity for Hair Stylist